The trail to Hidden Lake

July 5, 2017 - Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana, United States

Neither one of us had a good night sleep last night.  As a result, we decided we needed to shower before we could get up and running.  We finally left camp around 12:30 to explore the Going to the Sun Road.  Shortly before we began to make the 3,000+ foot ascent to Logan’s Pass we passed a commotion in some huckleberry bushes alongside the road.  Someone was already pointing out a brown bear that could only be seen in glimpses as he or she made a fast meal of the fruit.  But, at least we’d seen a bear!

The Going to the Sun Road (GTSR) was an engineering feat when it was completed in 1932.  It had just opened for the season on June 21st.  The road slips around rocky mountain cliffs and ledges; traverses multiple waterfalls; and even provides vehicles a cleansing burst of water at the Weeping Wall.  Vehicles longer than 21’ and wider than 8’ are not permitted on the section between Avalanche Creek and Sun Point.  The park service does have a fleet of 33 red, 1939 “modernized”, open-topped buses that shuttle visitors around the park for free.  I’d also have to say that driving the GTSR is not for the faint of heart.  There are multiple pull-offs for scenic viewing and the views are definitely worth seeing!Logan Pass

 

I had hoped to hike the 3 mile round-trip trail to Hidden Lake while at Glacier.  The trailhead is located behind the Logan’s Pass Visitors’ Center.  Shortly before reached Logan’s Pass we viewed a large herd of bighorn sheep near the base of The Garden Wall trail.  Once at Logan’s Pass it was a challenge to secure a parking space but eventually we did.  We then hiked around the back of the center to check out the trail.  Snow.  Snow-covered.  Almost entirely.Trail to Hidden Lake

 

Bill and I both went up a short distance.  He had had enough snow-sliding on our hike to Mt. Washburn.  I really wanted to do this hike.  He encouraged me to go-it-alone so with the gift of a ruff walking stick from a passing young man – I started up.  I think I told Bill I’d only be about a half hour.  Problem is, you think the end of the trail is right over this hill; then the next hill; then around this bend.  Not-so-fast!  It was a slippery, snowy 1.5 miles to the top and overlook of Hidden Lake.  At least 95% of the trail was completely snow covered.  I couldn’t believe the amount of people and their various progeny attempting this in flip-flops!  At one point the trail was wide enough for only one person at a time.  The woman in front of me; clad in said flip-flops; stood as if frozen.  She kept letting other hikers from the opposite direction pass through; even when they were 20 – 30 feet away.  I finally passed her; made it over the narrow spot; and the on-coming hikers were not delayed a bit.  I think she just had “feet of ice”.  I must admit it seemed odd to be hiking in snow at 90 degrees of heat.Hidden Lake Overview

 

It was exhilarating to reach the top.  Most of the lake was still covered in ice but it felt good to accomplish the objective.  There were also several very shoddy, shedding mountain goats out and about near the viewing platform.  They did not resemble those starkly white goats one sees in the brochures.  They most definitely needed some grooming.Shedding Goat

 

On the way up I had passed a group of young folks carrying floatation tubes down; intending to use them on a straight-away towards Logan’s Pass.  Brilliant!  I had already been thinking about an old plastic sled I had as a kid that was basically a stiff piece of red plastic.  People used those at Sleeping Bear Dunes as well; to ride down to the bottom.  I decided to treat the descent like a sand dune.  Rather than pick my way down the hill I took long strides, sinking my heels into the snow with a hop.  There was a guy right in front of me with the same approach.  We stuck together the whole way and I made it down in a half hour.  I couldn’t wait to get back to Bill and honestly felt guilty for leaving him.  Just before reaching the visitor’s center, the herd of bighorns had migrated to a spot right off the trail about 100 feet.Goose Island

 

Bill did not suffer during my absence.  He strolled around a bit and took pictures of the big red buses.  He even assisted a family whose car refused to start.  We drove a little further down GTSR before deciding to call it a day.  We were back in camp by 6:30 p.m.  Bill made a beautiful fire and we slow-roasted a couple dogs for dinner.  It was a great, most-relaxing evening.  We were in bed by 9:30 p.m.

 


Pictures

Logan Pass
Trail to Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake Overview
Shedding Goat
 
 

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